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Book 8 Patch Notes Review

Friday, June 19, 2009

I mentioned before I would wait to talk about the Book 8 patch notes until they were finalized. That time has come. This is going to be a epically long post. You have been warned. The format will be as follows. I'll hyperlink the relevant note I'm discussing, summarize what's necessary, and commentate. I'll not be going over all the notes, of course. That would just be insane. Instead, I'm picking and choosing what seems to be of most interest to me. Therefore, I'll be skipping much of the class specific information (aside from captains, because I play one), and a lot of the minor bug fixes. "Major" news is the idea with this post.

Epic Book Continuation

There's no surprise here. Like always, I'll say the epic books/storyline is one of my favorite parts of this game. Sounds like this book will focus on small fellowships.

Summer Festival

The seasonal content is a nice diversion for a couple days. I think we'll still be seeing the token drops. Really long period of that. I'm no longer a fan of the tokens since they're not scaled to level 60. Now they just take up space in my bags, if I even choose to collect them. Still, festivals are always fun, and sounds like there will be new activities.

Lothlorien Gift Boxes

This has been an issue since Book 7. The drop tables weren't right or something. Looks like these will be more friendly, though chances of a first age are completely gone. I like the changes, but I'm don't really care about first ages. My current third age weapon will be hard to beat as it is. And I'm not really grinding legendaries at the moment either.

First Age Legendaries

They're acquired by barter items now, gained through the instances/raids. Much better system as it eliminates getting first ages for the wrong class. Good change here.

Vendor Stacks

We can buy partial stacks from vendors! Yay! I always hated filling up to a full stack by clicking one at a time. Nice convenience change that just makes our LOTRO lives better. Like it says, it's the little things that count.

Boat Keepers

About bloody time! That lake is beautiful, but swimming across Evendim multiple times gets tedious after a while. Just like a swift travel route. Nothing fancy, but oh so nice. More convenience changes. Gotta love em!

FM Change

Hmmmm, I don't know if this will really affect things much. I don't play in fellowships often enough to really see what causes a FM induction - stun, knockdown, or on purpose (burg skill for instance). I guess it's not so nice we have one less option for FMs, but then again, we can induce them ourselves with the right class(es).

For your convenience (word of the day it seems) I've linked to each class's patch notes:
Captain Commentary

First on the list that interests me is we can once again rename our banners. Yay! I'm all for fluff changes and I like naming things. I miss it now that I no longer use Heralds (Ruth is so lonely).

Our Cry of Vengeance skill will now have a 10 second window of use and longer range. This is a very good thing. Nearly 2/3 of the time I use that skill, I'm either too late, or not in range of the downed player and it's completely wasted. Very helpful change, especially since the In Harms Way nerf. Makes up for that just a little bit.

Lastly, we can once again use Gleaming Striker, Flashing Bane, and Shining Star scrolls from the solo legendary instances in the Dolven View. When I saw that we couldn't use these post Book 7, I was annoyed. There was no longer anything to modify the Emblems. That was a mistake, obviously, not an intended change. Finally we're getting the fix. Good deal!

All in all I think the captain changes are good this time around. Repeated nerfs will wear on you.

User Interface

I'm happy to see that there is now a /ui command that saves your ui, which you can then load as a new character. Seriously, this is such an awesome feature. I hated going onto my alts (not that I did very much) and having to rearrange my ui all over again. I've done so many tweaks to it on my main that it takes way too long to change it all over again with another character. And then I don't even remember where I put half the stuff that's not visible all the time. Good stuff here.

More skinning options. I don't use skins, finding the default look satisfactory to my gameplay. But many people do, and unleashing the creativity of the player base is always a good thing.

Effect icons will once again pulse properly when running out of time. I don't know when they stopped pulsing, but it became hard to see when an effect was almost complete as sometimes the icons would stay opaque, and sometimes they would stay transparent. Makes it hard in high stress, distracting activities like instances or raids to quickly see what's going on. And that's important - getting the information to the player as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Quest Guide

Indicators on the map now pulse. I always made them pulse manually by moving my mouse on and off the item in the quest guide so I could more clearly see where it is I'm supposed to be looking, especially when I have multiple, large-area quests active and overlapping each other. Nice to see refinement like this.

Housing

Lockout fees will increase each week a house is in lockout (from not paying your bills, lazy bums!) until it reaches 90% of the purchase price. Not so bad for you normal house people, a bit expensive for the deluxe house. I did loose my house once before they were unloosable (That is not a word, I know) but I got my money back from that. I learned my lesson - pay my bills on time. Or rather, log into the game at least once per week to check on it. I got distracted by my school work at the time so I have a legitimate excuse for getting evicted!

Raids

Exploit fixes here. Good to see they're still working on this issue. I wish they had been faster at fixing the initial problems with the radiance instances post MoM release. Let's hope they've learned from that situation and will rapidly develop hotfixes for major issues like that.

Crafting

We're seeing a lot of changes to crafting here. The basic system stays the same, but things have been much more streamlined, such as use levels, crafting materials, tool tips, etc. There was an excellent dev diary talking about the changes, so check that out rather than these notes for the scoop on crafting re-vamp.

Adding a "make all" button is a good refinement, as well as fixing the stupid default to 0 thing. That is annoying.

I've included links to specific professions for your convenience:

Jaxom the Yeoman

Jaxom is quite happy to see the critical items for farming have been reduced to 1 instead of 3. This does come with a price increase, but that's understandable. Nice to use stacks of mats up equally.

Jaxom is also happy that farming fields produce optional critical cooking ingredients. Looking forward to trying those out.

And Jaxom is elated to see food can stack to 50, and crafting ingredients stack to 100. Less trips to MD for cooking as he can store much more food on his person. Must have one of those portable coolers.

Legendaries

Happy to see that auto-combine on runics will pull from the most populated items rather than randomly. That way mutiples are used up first. Just common sense here, but something easily overlooked. Glad it has been changed.

Loot System

Rare Lothlorien monsters now drop Mithril Flakes. About time! You mobs better look out. There's a whole host of levle 60 players that are now gunning for you... er, swining their swords and firing their bows.

Rolls on keys will only apply to players who have not added the key to their ring. Why someone would purposefully roll on a key they already have, I don't know. Accidentally, well, that makes more sense. Glad to see this "fixed".

Graphics

Elated, yes, elated to see the lighting issues in Moria have been cleared up. They were visually annoying, having the ambiant light at your feat and partially through the ground in certain places. I'm a oogler of nice looking graphics, and when things don't look quite so good, I get cranky. Well, not really, but I love it when things do look nice, and LOTRO is a nice looking game.

Creature Pathing/AI

The only reason I bring up this bit is because here we find the lovely humor of whomever it is that writes up these patch notes. I will, for lack of a name, attribute this to the company as a whole. Turbine has a wonderful sense of humor:

"Moose in Forochel will no longer stand around and allow themselves to be turned into Moose-burger."

"Burrow Mobs Take 2! Once again, monsters which "burrow" (Cave-claws, Shades, Dark-waters, Neekers) will no longer do so when they are near death, because that's annoying. Our first attempt at fixing this was equivalent to a 9mm; it should've been enough to get the job done, but it wasn't. *This* time we’re pulling out the Desert Eagle .50, that outta stop these jerks."

Conclusion

Yay! I'm done. Whew! What a set of notes. I heard one comment that LOTRO patch notes give EVE a run for it's money. I assume that means EVE has long patch notes. I've never played it. I don't know how helpful or entertaining this was. Probably not much. On the whole I'm quite happy with the Book 8 changes. It doesn't address some of the larger overaching concerns I talked about in the last couple of days, but that's not something you see in a free patch. More like an expansion scale, or over a longer period of time. And I think that's what needs to happen with a lot of the critiques - Turbine needs time to look over the data, feedback, etc and come to the conclusions themselves. I think they will, considering the past track record with this game.

I'm looking forward to the patch. I really need to get back into the game for the epic quest, which I'm currently sitting on 2.5.5, I think. It's been that long since I looked at it. The only "new" content that I would participate in this time around is the epic storyline. I don't raid, and I haven't gotten any radiance gear anyhow.

Keep up the good work, Turbine. Glad to see the effort in this patch.

6 Responses to "Book 8 Patch Notes Review"

Anonymous Says:

The Captain bonuses aren't being changed, it was just the tooltip that was wrong.

Jaxom92 Says:

Right, my bad. Miss read that. Thanks! I'll edit the entry.

acomplexkid Says:

re: housing lockout fees - it's up to 90% of the house PURCHASE PRICE. big difference!

Jaxom92 Says:

@ acomplexkid

Wow, I got another miss read? Man, I'm not doing so hot. Fixed.

Matt Says:

Great post. Although you reference a change to Fellowship Maneuvers, and looking through the patch notes I couldn't find anything about an FM's.

Could you elaborate on the change? (or point me to the right section of the patch notes?)

Jaxom92 Says:

@ Matt

If you click on the "FM Change" Heading, it will open a new tab to the patch notes where that change is listed.